Faith-Based Organizations Under Double-Pressure: The Impact of Market Liberalization and Secularization on Caritas and Diakonie in Germany

  • Josef Hien
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Religion, Politics, and Policy book series (PSRPP)


This chapter assesses the changing institutional, political, and social anchoring of faith-based organizations in Germany. It analyzes how the two largest organizations, Caritas and Diakonie, reply to the double-pressure of marketization and secularization. Caritas and Diakonie have traditionally played an important role in the German welfare state, enjoying many institutional and legal provisions. However, they currently face two major challenges: first, liberalization of the care market in the early 1990 has stripped them of many of their legal and financial advantages and exposed them to market-based competition. The integration of Eastern European countries into the labor market regime of the single European market has amplified this pressure. Second, the proselyting aims of Caritas and Diakonie face growing public and political resistance in Germany, where church membership is in steady decline since the 1970s. This double-pressure has led to a crisis of identity, which might translate into a full-fledged existential crisis for faith-based employers in Germany. That is, either Caritas and Diakonie comply with cost containment and liberalization and become normal market-based care providers, or they try to maintain a distinct religious profile with higher caring standards and non-profit character, emphasizing their religious aims which will expose them to increasing secular critique.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Josef Hien
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MilanMilanItaly

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